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RPT-Italy to suspend flights to and from UK over virus fears - foreign minister

MILAN, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Italy plans to suspend flights to and from Britain over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus detected there, Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio said in a Facebook post.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists announced on Saturday that a new strain of the virus identified in the country was up to 70% more infectious than the original version.

“As a government we have the duty to protect Italians, for this reason, after having notified the British government, with the Ministry of Health we are about to sign the provision to suspend flights with Great Britain,” Di Maio said. “Our priority is to protect Italy and our compatriots.” (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Hugh Lawson)